Costas: Com­men­taries cost me at NBC

Tampa Bay Times - - Morning Briefing -

A year af­ter Bob Costas was con­spic­u­ous by his ab­sence from NBC’s broad­cast of Su­per Bowl LII, the long­time face of the net­work’s sports tele­casts said he was told “you’ve crossed the line” with com­men­tary about the NFL.

“I re­mem­ber be­ing told that now I can no longer host the Su­per Bowl,” Costas, who parted am­i­ca­bly with the net­work last month af­ter 40 years, told ESPN’s Out­side

the Lines. “I think the words were, ‘You’ve crossed the line,’ and my thought was, ‘What line have I crossed?’ “

Over the last few years, Costas had moved from be­ing the ge­nial host of the net­work’s big­gest sports event to some­one who of­fered brief snip­pets of com­men­tary, and he quickly was sub­jected to crit­i­cism for speak­ing up about long-term cog­ni­tive is­sues that can de­velop af­ter play­ing foot­ball, gun con­trol, the na­tional an­them con­tro­versy and the Red­skins’ name.

Costas con­tin­ued to speak about foot­ball in the fall pre­ced­ing Su­per Bowl LII, with the net­work say­ing that his “opin­ions are his own and do not rep­re­sent those of the NBC Sports Group.” A CNN in­ter­view led to him hear­ing from his bosses be­cause “ap­par­ently I was viewed — they thought I was viewed — as some sort of en­emy of foot­ball.” Costas said NBC told him, “This puts us in a po­si­tion that’s un­ten­able for us, so you can’t do the Su­per Bowl.’ “

NBC told ESPN in a state­ment that it has his­tor­i­cally given com­men­ta­tors lat­i­tude to ex­press opin­ions “and Bob has ben­e­fited most from this pol­icy. We’re very dis­ap­pointed ... he has cho­sen to mis­char­ac­ter­ize and share these pri­vate in­ter­ac­tions.”

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